I guess AOL is your email service. Hum; I would rethink this and move
my email account to the ISP.
AOL won the hearts of the Internet with free distribution of client software.
There current advertising is very persuasive. Personally, I would never subscribe
to AOL, when there are many good ISPs with much better service and far less
invasive client software. I highly recomment Earthlink. I ran a dial-up subscription
for years with them and only because I couldn't get DSL at my location, the
cable provider finally made digital cable a reality for me. When I disconnected
from Earthlink, I told them it was only because I could not he hispeed access.
More to your point.
AOL installs several processes:
* AOLSP Scheduler
the latter is a startup program which hooks your connections to the Internet.
You might like to see the the impact others are having from AOL.
MS KB Q165474 but it's dated Dec-5-2003 and relates downlevel software (IE < V5.01 and AOL 4.0)
but it does identify the usage of a PROXY
Try getting rid of AOL software completely and see if it resolves this.
AOL's browser likes being in control of connections.